No distress call before plane crash in Maine
By DAVID SHARP
BIDDEFORD, Maine — A pilot whose twin-engine plane plunged into a house didn’t any indicate any trouble before clipping a tree and crashing into the home, starting an intense fire that destroyed the structure, investigators said Monday.
The pilot was in touch with air traffic controllers and made no reference to problems Sunday night, said Peter Knudson, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. Weather was good at the time, although it started to rain later.
Officials say the pilot was the only victim. No one was in the home when the plane crashed at 6 p.m. Sunday less than a mile from the Biddeford Municipal Airport.
The pilot’s body was removed late Sunday from the plane’s fuselage and was taken to the state medical examiner’s office awaiting positive identification.
The Cessna 402B was flying from Tampa, Fla., and the pilot planned to pick up a passenger in Biddeford, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. Federal Aviation Administration records indicate it’s registered to a corporation in Nantucket, Mass.
The fire was so hot that much of the airplane was destroyed, to the point that investigators could not determine the airplane’s registration number.
Fifteen-year-old Josh Pelletier, who lives about 200 yards from the crash site, said he had been looking out a window and noticed a low-flying plane, but didn’t hear any noises suggesting that it was having engine trouble. A few moments later, he heard a boom.
“It was a lot lower than usual,” Pelletier said.
The homeowners, Kim and Steve Myers, said they had been out during the day, then returned at 5 p.m. and left again with their dog.
They said they were shocked to return home and see the wreckage, but were grateful to have been away when the crash happened. They said they were told the plane went down nose-first on their roof.
“We’re just thankful to be alive. It’s a house. It’s replaceable,” Kim Myers said as she stood next to her husband, clutching her cocker spaniel.
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